Stefon Diggs was one of the early breakout fantasy football wide receivers this year, bursting onto the scene with 285 yards and a score over the first two games of the season. This had people reminiscing from the multi-week stretch in 2015 when many thought that Diggs would be a competent wide receiver option for them. Who can blame us, when teammates were saying he had Hall of Fame potential? Unfortunately, that four-week stretch was a flash-in-the-pan, as he topped 55 yards only once in the season’s final nine games. Of his 720 yards last year, 419 came in four games and the remaining 301 occurred over nine games. [embedit snippet=”jeff-ads”]
For Diggs supporters, this year is looking mysteriously like last season. Diggs had those 285 yards to start the season in two games. Over the last four, he had 181 yards per game. This is putting this stretch just eight yards per game ahead of his pace from the last nine games last season, and it took a 13-target, 76-yard day to pull him out of his downward production spiral. Over the last four games, there has been a definitive change in Diggs’ per-catch production, suggesting a change in his usage. He’s gone from 14.71 yards per catch week one, to 20 yards per catch week two, to just about ten yards per catch after that. With Sam Bradford in charge, the Vikings turned to a slow-it-down, ground-and-grind attack on offense. This means a lot of short routes and limited opportunities for big gains for Diggs. Unfortunately, that is going to limit his yardage, and the ball goes to Kyle Rudolph and the running backs in the red zone, so his touchdown opportunities will also be limited.
While the Lions are one of the worst pass defenses in the league this year for allowing fantasy points to quarterbacks, they are middling against wide receivers. The difference lies in that the Lions are abysmal against tight ends and fairly bad against pass catching backs, so the quarterbacks playing them look their way, and not so much for wide receivers. The Lions are a bottom-third matchup for wide receivers, and they have averaged just over one touchdown to wide receivers per game this season (nine in eight games). The limiting of touchdowns to wide receivers will work against Diggs Sunday, especially given that Kyle Rudolph will be a massive target for Sam Bradford to target in the red zone. That trend has left Diggs out in the cold, a trend that is likely to continue.
Stefon Diggs has started his last two seasons huge, and then faded hard in subsequent games. He’s currently in the midst of that spiral. The Vikings’ game plan and the red zone preferences flesh with the Lions’ terrible defense against tight ends will leave Diggs out in the cold in terms of fantasy football production. He’ll be a desperate play if you use him, and it’s not a play I would recommend if you could help it.